The Stories Behind the Stills

They are not necessarily my best photos. Certainly not the most unique. But each photo included here has an interesting story that I guess you could say transcends the photo itself. These are the stories behind the stills...

The North Shore Shuffle

We were in Hawai'i—my wife (pregnant with our first girl, Ryan), my parents and I—and eating dinner at a nice restaurant at Oahu's North Shore. The sun was setting, and we could tell from the clouds that it was shaping up to be a pretty one. So I begged myself away from the table, ran to the rental car and drove like a banshee to the closest beach access I could find. I got out there just as the sun was going down and a surfer was exiting the ocean. He was silhouetted just perfectly along the beach, and it made for a wonderful shot.

The North ShoreThe North Shore

Lake 10,300'

I was on an 8-day backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada, mostly in Kings Canyon National Park, and at least 3/4 of it off-trail. I had promised Jessie that I would stick to a well-planned itinerary, and no matter what I'd be home on time. Well, I got off to a slow start, and after 3 days I was only a few miles off, but unfortunately due to the way the passes lined up, I was a day behind. So I realized at that point I had to turn around, or else I wasn't going to make it back in time. As I made my decision, I happened to be standing on a ridge overlooking a hanging valley with an oval lake in it, with Mount Woodrow Wilson in the distance. It was a few hundred feet down to the lake, so I decided to bushwack down to the lake and camp for the night, hoping there would be a cool view/shot at sunrise. Well, here's the view. The lake has no name, but it will always be a special one for me; some of the best things that have happened in my life happened after a disappointment. God loves to bring beauty from the ashes...

Mount Woodrow Wilson ReflectionMount Woodrow Wilson ReflectionSIERRA NEVADA MOUNTAINS, CALIFORNIA

McMillan Mood

Driving to the coast in California one spring, there were these gorgeous dark clouds hanging over the hills to the north. I was staring out the window (Jessie was driving), and as we passed a small valley (turns out it's called McMillan Canyon), I glimpsed what looked like a church on the top of one of the hills, lit up by the sun with the dark clouds as a painted backdrop. It was stunning! We turned around and quickly found it, and even though the clouds weren't quite as dark as when we had passed, I caught a few photos of it. It turned out to be a vineyard, but it was a beautiful moment. Below is one of the photos. If you look closely, you'll see a dog in the shot. Here's a link to another photo of the vineyard, zoomed out. Even though it wasn't a church, the stark contrast of the building against the dark clouds was one I'll never forget. It almost had the feel of a rainbow in a dark storm. I think if we keep our eyes (read: hearts) open, God will reveal Himself in stark contrast to the pain and hurt that can seem to surround us...

Serra Chapel in McMillan CanyonSerra Chapel in McMillan Canyon

The Waterfall That Is No More

It was my first summer living in Colorado, and I was driving the road out of Aspen toward Independence Pass, and thought I saw a small waterfall in the river. Soon after I saw a dirt road turn off and back down the other side of the river, so I went down and found this waterfall. Not the most spectacular waterfall ever, but it had a charm to it that I enjoyed. Fast-forward three years later, and I wanted to get a shot of it using a 10-stop ND filter. When I got there, however, there was a problem: the waterfall was gone! The river now emerges below these rocks, and the waterfall no longer exists. It's a good reminder to me to enjoy the blessings of each day... 

Falls on Roaring Fork RiverFalls on Roaring Fork RiverELK MOUNTAINS, COLORADO
A charming little waterfall that no longer exists! Read more about it in
Stories Behind the Stills...

The Perfect Rain Check

I was in Colorado's San Juan Mountains, and had planned to hike into Dragon's Back to get a sunset shot. The first time I had been to it, the sun didn't cooperate, as clouds and rain (and hail) obscured it the entire evening. So this time around I got there and it was once again raining (and hailing, and thundering) like crazy. I was bummed. I donned my rain gear and actually started out for it, but it was high, open country, lightning was striking everywhere and the rain was relentless. Reluctantly I turned around, and waited a bit at my truck. Rain never stopped, and sunset came and went. I was supposed to spend the night there, but I figured that, with such weather, sunrise might be good at North Clear Creek Falls. So I headed there and got this beautiful shot, below. I hiked down the rocks and got this shot of the waterfall as well. I am so glad it rained!

So while I still hope to get a great sunset shot at Dragon's Back someday, I thank God for His Perfect Rain Check. Sometimes (read: all the time) He knows what we need as opposed to what we think we want...

Dawn at North Clear Creek FallsDawn at North Clear Creek Falls